Thought leadership: How to do it right

Thought leadership: How to do it right

Companies, big or small, want to be part of the conversation but many, especially early-stage businesses, struggle to find the right way. A thought leadership campaign might be the answer, one that highlights the company's expertise and establishes the brand in the mind of interested people on targeted topics.

We hear about thought leadership often but not everyone understands how it works. So, what is it? How can it help your business? And what do you need to do to make it right?

Sharing knowledge

Thought leadership, at its core, is an effective campaign to build brand awareness and loyalty. A company or individual uses their knowledge and expertise in their given field to provide insights for the public. The main goal is sharing knowledge – not selling products.

Many people think of thought leaders as being the most successful in their respective fields. While this is often true, it is not always the case. Having strident opinions or experience on a certain topic is good way to gain recognition as a thought leader. Even if you're running a small business, you could still become a thought leader if you provide insights to the audience.

Trend setter

Increasing trust, brand awareness and affinity are just some of the benefits. By sharing insights that are not specifically related to your company's products, it shows the public that you are knowledgeable about the industry's trends and challenges. It highlights your company as an expert and elevates the brand, so when people are at the last mile of making a purchase decision, you are top of their mind.

It's also a great way to provide the public with a glimpse of your company's future direction. Good thought leadership campaigns should be aligned with your company's business strategy and can help people understand your company values. 

So, where to start?

The key to a successful thought leadership campaign is targeted, insightful content. First, identify the topics that are relevant to your company's brand and expertise. Get a sense of what information is in demand, keep up with industry trends, follow reporters who cover your industry and talk to your customers to learn what they care most about.

Next, provide insight around the indentified topics with timely content. Pitch the content to journalists and industry associations. Share it with your audidence, whether it's through a blog post, social media or in your marketing material.

A good example is the successful thought leadership campaign SE10 developed for client Tsurumi. A leading international pump manufacturer headquartered in Japan, Tsurumi wanted to strengthen its brand name in North America. In 2016, after extensive research and consultation with its leadership team, SE10 helped position the company as thought leaders in the arenas of pump maintenance and disaster remediation, which is based on some of the company's key focus areas. In 2017, SE10 helped Tsurumi secure coverage on these topics in two of the industry's most prominent publications, Flow Control and Pumps & System, which reached more than 120,000 readers.

Anything else?

Good thought leadership comes in different forms and should be delivered through many different channels. If you want to position your company as a thought leader, think about what defines your company and how you would like your target audience to learn about it. Don't be afraid to be daring or creative. It's always helpful to use exisiting tools and resources to make the content more engaging for your audience. And don't forget, thought leadership is a continuous effort – it's not 'one and done'.

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